Professor Mike Wood
School of Science, Engineering and Environment
Chair in Applied Ecology; Programme Leader for MSc UNIGIS Programmes
I have always been fascinated by science. Some of my most treasured childhood possessions were my chemistry set, microscope and my collection of science books; my bedroom was my research laboratory! I was particularly interested in the natural environment and spent much of my time investigating the wildlife of the different places I visited. Pursuing a career in science was therefore an obvious choice for me.
After graduating from the University of Liverpool with a BSc in Zoology and then from the University of Manchester with an MSc in Pollution and Environmental Control, I entered the world of Environmental Consultancy. During 3 years working as a Consultant, I delivered applied research and consultancy for a broad range of clients, but quickly realised that academia was where I wanted to develop my career. I returned to the University of Liverpool to work as an Environmental Scientist, using the experience I had gained as a Consultant to secure substantive research funding in various areas of applied environmental science. In parallel, I undertook a part-time PhD, graduating in 2010.
My first academic post was at Manchester Metropolitan University, which provided me with excellent opportunities to hone my teaching skills. Since 2011, I have been lecturing in environmental management at the University of Salford. I am currently Reader in Applied Ecology at Salford.
The University of Salford provides a fantastic environment for me to undertake my research and to deliver research-led teaching. The University has also allowed me to develop a strong international reputation in science communication. I currently undertake extensive research in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, studying environmental radioactivity and its impact on wildlife. This research led to me being awarded the highly prestigious Times Higher Education Award for research in 2016.
Areas of research
Radioecology, Radiation, Pollution, Ecology
I deliver research-led teaching in environmental management from at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. I have led modules on topics such as ‘environment and sustainability’, ‘consultancy’, ‘environmental decision making’ and ‘environmental investigation and remediation’. I am also Programme Leader for the UNIGIS suite of PG distance learning programmes, specialising in the environmental applications of Geographical Information Systems.
In addition to these teaching activities, I supervise research projects undertaken by students at BSc, MSc and PhD level. Recent supervisory roles include PhD research on the measuring the radiation exposure of free-ranging wildlife and MSc research on the influence of radiation on large mammal populations in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.
Since 2003, I have been undertaking research supported by Research Councils (NERC, EPSRC & ESRC), the European Commission (FP6 & FP7), the United Nations (IAEA & UNEP), Government agencies and industry. This funding has enabled me to deliver internationally-excellent high impact research including: (i) pioneering the development of new approaches to model and measure radionuclide transfer to wildlife; and (ii) establishing linkages between ecosystem services and poverty alleviation throughout the India & Hindu-Kush region.
As these two examples indicate, much of my research involves the application of ecological science to inform environmental decision-making, management and policy development. Much of my research has focussed on environmental radioactivity and its impacts on wildlife. For over 15 years, I have played a key role in the development of the international system of environmental radiation protection and the computer models that different nations use for their regulatory assessments. Much of my recent field research has been in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, an area that provides a natural laboratory for radioecological research.
- PhD Environmental Radiation Protection (University of Liverpool, 2003-2010, Part-time)
- MSc Pollution and Environmental Control (University of Manchester, 1999 – 2000)
- BSc (Hons.) Zoology (2:1) (University of Liverpool, 1995 – 1998)
- PgC Academic Practice (Distinction) (Manchester Metropolitan University, 2012-2012)
- Elected Member of Senate, University of Salford (2017 onwards)
- Elected Council Member and Trustee, Society for Radiological Protection (2016 onwards)
- Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, FHEA (October 2012)
- Chartered Member of the Society for Radiological Protection, CRadP MSRP (2005)
- Professional Radioecologist, Member of the International Union of Radioecology (2005)